The protracted count is finally over, and it appears that Hannah-Beth Jackson’s outsize effort to defeat Phony Tony Strickland has come up just short. With only a few hundred ballots left to count, Strickland currently maintains a 903 vote lead out of 414,587 ballots cast. That margin is .2%: well within the margin necessary for a mandatory recount request by the Jackson campaign. Unfortunately, as the pro-Strickland blog Policy Report correctly notes, such a recount effort would almost certainly be insufficient to net Hannah-Beth the votes she would need to overtake Strickland’s lead, even were the final votes to close the gap to 700 or 800:
According to some experts, a recount of all 400,000+ ballots might yield a variance of 150 votes in one direction or the other at great cost. Gaining 800 votes in an election of this size is next to impossible.
Hannah-Beth has done the gracious thing and conceded the race:
With the latest totals showing Strickland hanging on to the lead by a little over 900 votes, Jackson said a victory was not mathematically possible.
“I’m disappointed, but I think that it’s pretty clear at this point in time, we’re not going to be able to catch up,” she said.
Strickland is due to be sworn in Monday in Sacramento. He will represent voters in most of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties as well as the northwest corner of Los Angeles County, including Santa Clarita and Stevenson Ranch.
The outcome has been in doubt since the Nov. 4 election, but by Wednesday both candidates agreed that Strickland had won.
Congratulations to Hannah-Beth Jackson and all her volunteers, supporters and staff who ran a courageous campaign against a less than honorable opponent, giving it everything they had to deliver quality representation to the people in SD-19.
This marks the end of two long and arduous races eked out by narrow margins in Ventura County by both Tony and Audra Strickland, who will be attempting to consolidate their power base. Unfortunately for them, however, their electoral future does not look bright. It was Ventura County that gave Strickland his victory, but that result is a relic of a Ventura whose demographics and electoral distribution are rapidly changing. By 2012, there is little doubt that Ventura’s Democratic Majority will deliver a majority of votes for the Democrat. As I said before, there are three chief reasons for this:
The first is that Ventura County flipped from red to blue earlier this year in terms of voter registrations–and those numbers have shifted even farther in our direction since. This is not just due to discontent with Bush and the Obama Effect: emigres from Los Angeles are swelling Ventura County’s ranks as more and more Angelenos come to appreciate this oft-overlooked area’s natural advantages. The path to victory for Republicans like Tony Strickland is only going to get steeper from here.
Second, Obama’s first term will likely end up going smoothly with good approval ratings, or very poorly with low approval ratings. Given the precarious, sour and moody state of the nation, we’re unlikely to see an apathetic, middling result. As a consequence, the next presidential election is unlikely to be a close contest one way or another. Our poor experiences in California this year will likely have taught us that we need to Stay for Change–especially if a Democratic Governor is elected in 2010, putting GOP legislators as the biggest remaining obstacle to real change in California.
But Tony’s third and biggest problem is that as an incumbent he will have 4-year voting record in the State Senate. Tony’s campaign this year was built entirely on lies; so much so, in fact, that I can say with all sincerity that he ran the most dishonest campaign I’ve personally had the misfortune of seeing up close. He will no longer be able to run as an “independent”, as all his yard signs and mailers deceitfully claimed. He will no longer be able to claim “green” credentials by posing as an alternative energy entrepreneur. He will simply be the incumbent: the Republican incumbent, and with a track record to boot.
So assuming that demography is destiny and the remaining ballots sort themselves out as poorly as we expect, it’s not the end of the road, but merely the beginning. The Stricklands will have earned themselves 2 to 4 years of respite through dishonest campaigning. More Democratic voters, increased intensity, and an unequivocal track record will see them on their way out of Sacramento in a few short years.
But we can’t do it without your help. Today we begin Strickland Watch: it will be our duty to shadow every move and every vote Tony and Audra Strickland make in Sacramento. So far, the Stricklands have made their careers by pretending to be something other than the hard right, corporate sockpuppets they are. The only antidote to such poison is sunlight and exposure, and a full accounting of every single vote and dollar taken by each of them over the course of the next two to four years.
For his part, Tony Strickland is mouthing the right words:
“We need to definitely do whatever we can to reach across party lines to fix the problems of the state,” he said.
Unfortunately, we’ve heard this from Strickland before. How he and his wife actually vote is another matter. If their history is any indication, their bipartisan rhetoric will be belied by a hardline ideological stance. Democrats in Ventura County-myself included–did an inadequate job of informing our friends, neighbors and community of the Stricklands’ extremist record. It’s up to us to make sure that doesn’t happen again, and to deliver to Ventura County the competent, progressive representation it has long deserved and been waiting for.
Also at Ventura County Democrats